Perioral Dermatitis
Health Benefits

Coconut Oil for Perioral Dermatitis

| Modified on Mar 10, 2024
Coconut oil is a kitchen remedy for a variety of skin problems, including perioral dermatitis. Because this remedy seems to make perioral dermatitis worse for some and better for others, it is wise to test it on a small area and see how you respond to it.

7 User Reviews

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Posted by Shelbydz (Merrill, Wi) on 01/09/2018

I have battled PD on and off for 29 years and literally tried everything. The only full relief I have ever had was from oral antibiotics and now they have stopped working. I am at the point that every “-cycleen” on the market makes me sick. For me, regular application of coconut oil relieves the symptoms and soothes the pain. It will almost appear to be gone - until I stop treatment!

Coconut Oil
Posted by Jade (Az) on 09/23/2015


I have been battling PD (perioral dermatitis) for about 2 months now and have been racking my brain trying to figure out what has caused it. I have not been doing anything differently with my hygiene routine, nothing out of the ordinary with my diet, no changes in supplements, no birth control or other hormones, no steroids of any sort....then I came across just one mentioning of how using too much oil on your face, more than your skin can absorb, can trap bacteria in your pores and cause PD.

I then realized that might be the cause. I had started slathering my face with some type of oil...usually coconut, almond, or apricot kernel, both day and night. My face would be shiny for hours after because I thought the more the better right? Wrong. I immediately stopped with the oil altogether and almost instantly my PD has gone away...knock on wood. I have also been doing Apple Cider Vinegar as everyone suggests. I usually don't post things like this but it is such a depressing issue that I want to help anyone desperate for answers

Replied by Andi

Interesting, I broke out after I switched to using oils to cleanse my face.

Replied by Angela
(Pollock Pines, CA)

How do you use the apple cider vinegar? Ingestion or topical? Thanks! I'm a nurse and my PD is from the long hours in masks. I'm trying coconut oil but am curious about the apple cider vinegar.

Coconut Oil
Posted by E. (New York, New York, Usa) on 06/01/2011

Hi Earthclinic, I have been battling perioral dermatitis for three months now. I am at a loss as to what caused it, since I stopped using commercial soaps/face creams/detergents for over a year before the POD outbreak happened, and I've never before had issues with sensitive skin. Some posters on this site claim that coconut oil has alleviated their symptoms, but in my case, I suspect it may be exacerbating or even causing them.

1. About two weeks before the outbreak, I experimented with coconut oil as a facial moisturizer. I can't be sure whether this alone triggered the breakout, but I have used other natural oils -- olive oil, shea butter -- for over a year without any problems.

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is cited as a common irritant for those suffering from POD. I noticed that some "natural" products contain an ingredient called "Sodium Coco Sulfate", a compound which to my understanding may be essentially a diluted form of SLS. (See:"

It seems wise for me to avoid Sodium Coco Sulfate just as I would SLS. However, seeing as these two compounds are chemically similar to one another, could other coconut and coconut-derived substances also be an irritant for those with POD? I've noticed that many other products I thought to be eco-friendly and thus okay to use, such as my conditioner and laundry detergent, have some sort of coconut-derived cream and/or chemical in them. I would like to find out whether I need to avoid these types of coconut-based substances.

Has any significant number of individuals with POD experienced an adverse reaction to coconut oil/coconut-derived substances?

Thank you.

Replied by Rattlewood
(Willits, Ca)

Hi there, I just wanted to say I had Perioral dermatitis also & tried many herbal solutions. I finally took a round of antibiotics after almost a year of struggle & it cleared up quickly & completly. It was the one time I was very happy with going the Western route.

Replied by El
(New South Wales, AU)

I had perioral dermatitis for months with many failed attempts to cure it -
I first of all swapped all detergents to all natural SLS-free ones, stopped the use of all cosmetics apart from coconut oil (which I had been using as a facial moisturiser for a month or so previously) I tried zinc, evening primrose oil, ACV, calendula cream, green tea, Elidel cream, cut out dairy, ate a vegetable based diet - and nothing worked, the rash was stubborn, itchy and raw and had spread to around my eyes, on my eyelids and between my eyebrows. THEN - in the last week I have stopped using coconut oil and have been moisturising with an all natural moisturiser for sensitive skin. Within a day I noticed the rash no longer felt 'active', and now after five days the bumps have almost disappeared and my skin is healing before my eyes, just a little pinkness remains. It might be worth a try if you're at a loss for reasons and, like me, had cut out all other possible causes. Every forum I read had said that coconut oil would be beneficial for dermatitis so I may just be the unlucky one who has an allergy.

Replied by Faith
(Damascus, Md)

My story is very similar to yours, except my PD persisted for 3 years! I'd have a breakout every 3-4 months (that only responded to Doxycycline, but it would always return.) I was at a loss all that time because everything I used on my body was as near to homemade as possible and I put very few, if any, unnatural substances on my body. My diet is much healthier than most as well.

Well, pure serendipity brought me to a dermatologist with a personal opinion... "Stop with the coconut oil already! " I made my own toothpaste with it, my bar soap had it as it's second ingredient, my moisturizer was pure coconut oil, and I took 1tbsp of it each day in my coffee. It's then that I realized that PD started shortly after switching to pure coconut oil for my face moisturizer.

What?????!!! So simple yet I overlooked it because I thought, "it's natural and unrefined. It couldn't be that."

I was wrong.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Starr (Rochester, NY) on 06/12/2009

Coconut oil is the cure. Here is what cleared up my perioral Dermatis.

For 7 days after I washed my face at night I wiped the dermatis with apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball. It will burn a little at first, but once it starts to clear up, it will no longer burn. I was also drinking apple cider vinegar during the day. I would mix 2-3 tablespoons of ACV with a water/apple juice mixture. I would drink that through out the day. I would also apply coconut oil directly to the dermatis whenever I was at home. I also ate the coconut oil, which surprisingly tasted pretty darn good. It's not strong or disgusting at all. It has such a light flavor. If you don't like coconut at all you may have a problem with it, but I actually like it. The more I read about the benefite of ACV and coconut oil the more I used it. I apply coconut oil on my body like I do lotion and I love it. You don't need a lot at all because it is very oily. A little goes a long way. But I truely believe that it is the coconut oil that cleared my dermatitis. i still have a little redness in the areas that were very dry before, and occasionally a few dry spots. However I still drink ACV and eat coconut oil daily and it keeps things under control, not too mention the benefits for other things. ACV is suppose to curb your appetite, and it has. Coconut oil has also improved my complexion. I will put it on every night before I go to bed and use it under makeup in the morning. I no longer put ACV directly on my face, but I do still drink it every day. I also want to report that I had no negative reactions to either of these remedies. You have nothing to lose by trying. My dermatis was so embarrassing I took two days off of work and went crazy with the coconut oil, and I absolutely love what I have discovered. I can't wait to go back to my Derm and tell him.

Oh - I use to wash my face with ___. i changed my face wash to ___ brand I got at the natural food store. I use the one with blue green algae and grape seed. I also use non-fluoride toothepaste, and have stopped eating anything with cinnamin in it. i am not sure if those were causes but I thought I would not use them and see. however I did eat french toast the other day that had cinnamin in it and didn't really have a reaction.

So i wish all of you luck with this. i would say there has been 85% improvement, but I still maintain with coconut oil and ACV.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Cain (VA Beach) on 01/20/2006

I recently started using coconut oil on my skin. I have really bad acne and i tried almost every acne product you can think of and spent hundreds of dollars on medications and nothing worked. I came across some information on coconut oil and decided to try it. I started using the coconut oil two weeks ago. My skin has improved greatly. The texture of my skin is no longer dry and flaky, plus my pores are much smaller. My face looks so much clearer and I actually have been getting compliments on my skin and how healthy it looks. I want to mention that I have perioral dermatitis which in the past I had to use a steroid to get rid of this condition but as soon as I stopped the steroid the condition would come back much worse. I applied coconut oil on the affected area, and now I have no signs of dermatitis present. Coconut oil has worked for me so far.

Replied by Jessie
(Vacaville, Ca)

I know that coconut oil can be your skin's best friend. But I just wanted to put out there that it makes my skin breakout with very sore pimples. I also have PoD and it doesn't seem to make it any worse, but I had to stop using it because of the painful pimples. I use CO for so many other things and just wanted to let you know that some things work and some do not.